Have them at “Hello”

By February 7, 2008blog

I’ve been helping my brother-in-law with his website 2020vision.com (he’s a GREAT ophthalmologist in Michigan). The site’s transformation has been quite exciting (old site). We were talking last weekend about how to improve the site further. As I put on my first-time-visitor hat, I felt like the site had too many competing headlines. So we started talking about what do people do when they search for information about lasik. He said the usually do a search on just “lasik”, click through a couple results, and realize that they are all national sites in the organic results not related to where they live (in his case Michigan). So they do another search on “Michigan lasik” to make it more relevant, and start clicking through on those results, to figure out if they are truly regional to Michigan. The epiphany for us was that his site wasn’t hitting the visitor in the face with “Yes, this site is all about lasik in Michigan”! So he is eliminating most of the text in the banner and putting a “Michigan Lasik” headline with a graphic of the Michigan-hand (text and visual cues).

It’s what I call “Having them at ‘Hello'” or developing instantaneous trust. We are all so programmed now to click back and forth on search results that if a site doesn’t immediately tell us we are in the right place for what we searched for, we are outta there without even thinking about it!

Let me give you another, more concrete example. For RegOnline we split-tested dynamic headlines on our homepage:

  1. If you search Google for “seminar registration“, when you click through to our homepage you will get a headline that says “Online Seminar Registration has never been easier”.
  2. When you search for “conference registration” the headline on our homepage will change to “Conference Registration has never been easier”.

The difference in conversion rates is 15%!! Because people like to know they are in the right place immediately!

If you ask any direct marketing fanatic what the single most important converting element of any mailer, advertisement, or marketing piece is… they will ALL tell you it’s the headline. Websites are no different. Does the headline on your site tell your visitors they are at the right place (based on what the visitor is thinking)? Do you have them at “Hello”?!

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